‘Dexter’ Series Finale Review: “Remember the Monsters?”
‘Dexter’ season 8 slices up the 12th and final episode of its closing year with “Remember the Monsters?” as Dexter’s escape with Hannah becomes complicated by Deb’s injuries and Elway’s pursuit, while Saxon (Darri Ingolfsson) makes one final attempt to have Dexter pay.
Last week’s episode, “Monkey in a Box,” saw Dexter racing against the clock to find Saxon while Deb tried to keep authorities off Hannah’s trail, before her brother and Hannah could make their getaway together. So how does “Remember the Monsters?” close out the 8th and final season, ultimately the series?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Dexter’ season 8, episode 12, series finale “Remember the Monsters?”
Dexter and Harrison arrive at the airport, as Hannah calls from the ladies room to reveal that Elway has camped out nearby. Without being seen, Dexter purchases a few items from a gift shop to shove into a backpack, before reporting to a TSA agent that he saw Elway suspiciously leaving behind a bag. Security escorts Elway away as Hannah emerges from the bathroom, though the bomb threat has led to an airport evacuation.
Police pick up Deb and place her in an ambulance, though she insists that no one call Dexter. Quinn rides with Deb in the ambulance, and assures her she’ll have time to make up for any mistakes she believes herself to have made. Later, doctors wheel Deb into surgery, as Matthews takes it on himself to call Dex about the shooting, and elsewhere a bleeding Saxon steals a man’s truck and rides off.
Dexter and Harrison arrive to the hospital, as Elway is finally released from security and calls the Marshals’ office to learn that Clayton has been killed. Later, Deb wakes up to find Dexter waiting for her, as she assures him that none of it was his fault, and he still deserves to find happiness. The doctors believe Deb will make a full recovery, as she urges Dexter to forget about Saxon and get going to Argentina already.
Dexter remembers how he and Deb first held Harrison in the same hospital, while back in the present Matthews assigns protection to her room. Dexter finds Elway in the lobby, and threatens him to stay away when he suggests Dexter is returning to Hannah. Elsewhere, Saxon breaks into a vet’s office and forces the veterinarian to stitch up his wound at gunpoint.
Dexter and Hannah reason that they can use one of the buses evacuating Miami to escape, though Dexter has apprehensions about leaving Deb behind with Saxon still out there. Meanwhile, Saxon demands the veterinarian take him for a drive. Dexter puts Hannah and Harrison on the bus, swearing to meet them in Argentina after he deals with Saxon.
Saxon and the veterinarian arrive at the hospital, before Saxon cuts the man’s tongue out as a distraction to slip into the hospital unnoticed. Dexter shortly follows, and realizes Saxon’s plan for getting past security. Upstairs, Dexter manages to find Saxon before he enters Deb’s room, though Batista and the police reach Saxon before the confrontation. Dexter finds Deb’s room empty, as Quinn reveals that Deb had a complication from surgery, and has since been put on a respirator. The doctor informs the pair that a blood clot formed a stroke that likely left Deb brain-dead, even if she manages to start breathing on her own.
Devastated, Dexter remembers Deb telling him in the maternity ward how he’d always been there for her, staying in her room as children to assure her no monsters were present in the shadows. Meanwhile, Hannah is shocked to find Elway on the bus with she and Harrison, planning to escort them to the Marshals’ office after getting off at the next stop.
Back at Miami Metro, Quinn goes off on Saxon in the interrogation room, and even Batista assures Saxon he’ll get what’s coming. Back on the bus, Hannah goes to offer Elway some of her tea, which he knowingly refuses, though not before she manages to inject horse tranquilizer into his leg, and escape. Later, Dexter meets with Saxon in lockup under the guise of a gunshot residue test, thanking him for opening his eyes to the destruction in his wake. Dexter allows Saxon a pen to attack him, though Dexter quickly turns the tables and stabs Saxon in the throat, before sounding the alarm. Later, Quinn and Batista watch the security footage of Dexter blithely stabbing Saxon, and reluctantly admit to Dexter that they understand his reasoning, writing off the actions as self-defense.
Despondent over the hurt he’s caused in trying to be more human, Dexter drives his boat to the hospital, and enters Deb’s room. Not wanting to leave her in such a state, Dexter says his goodbyes and pulls the plug, hugging her as she flatlines. Dexter manages to sneak the body out in the chaos of employees preparing for the hurricane, driving away with Deb in the Slice of Life.
Once out on the open ocean, Dexter calls Hannah to assure her they’ll meet in Argentina, and remind Harrison that his father loves him, before tossing the phone. Dexter cradles Deb’s body and drops her overboard, watching the body sink to the depths before driving into the middle of the hurricane, having resolved to stop causing hurt to those he loves.
The morning after the hurricane, the Coast Guard finds the wreckage of the Slice of Life, phoning Batista to reveal that no survivors were found. Hannah too learns the news from her tablet at an Argentinian café, before walking off with Harrison for ice cream.
Some time later, a still-living and bearded Dexter goes home from a day’s work as a lumberjack, sitting at his table in silence. So endeth ‘Dexter.’
Well, did you expect any better? We were warned well in advance that the ‘Dexter’ finale was likely to polarize, even before we saw for ourselves how steep of a nosedive the story took across the final twelve episodes. And so it ends, that Deb pays the ultimate price for her brother’s sins, and Dexter resolves to abandon hope of a miracle for his sister, and drive into a hurricane to free his remaining loved ones of his influence. Except he doesn’t, miraculously survives, and abandons his son with a fugitive to spend the rest of his life chopping wood, and gazing through his beard. Why not, right?
Much of the conversation of ‘Dexter”s many failings as a series stems from the writing’s unwillingness to villify the title character, taking increasingly ludicrous measures to ensure we see Dexter as an innocent hero rather than a selfish, psychopathic killer. And for a time, “Remember the Monsters?” manages to address that glaring issue in cutting Dexter’s largest tether to humanity, holding up a mirror to the devastation he causes his loved ones, and presenting a bleak, if rational solution in deciding to take his own life.
Nevermind the pointless showdowns with a villain who consistently fell flatter than the wasted character that literally and figuratively birthed his arrival, nevermind Masuka’s topless pot-smoking daughter, and nevermind that Quinn and Batista effectively watched video evidence of Dexter coldly murdering a man, only to shrug it off. Dexter came to terms with his incendiary nature, and made a series-ending decision to perform the only selfless action immediately available to him. “Remember the Monsters?” certainly couldn’t have redeemed the season(s) that came before it, but could have ended effectively enough right there.
Of course, it didn’t. We’d be hard-pressed to say with certainty who made the ultimate call in allowing Dexter to survive, given Showtime’s notorious refusal to let go of its most popular series and characters, and the generally uneven writing all season, but what’s left to consider? Dexter somehow survived driving into the hurricane that destroyed his boat, washed ashore, and thought it best to cut lumber for a living? What happens to his murderous impulses with Hannah a continent away? Had Dexter perhaps planned to fake his death before retrieving Deb, leaving his only son with a murderous fugitive rather than allow him a normal life with his grandparents?
Sigh. We hadn’t expected an overabundance of satisfactory closure in bringing ‘Dexter’ to an ultimate end, but we hadn’t expected such a needlessly damning final sequence either. Goodnight, ‘Dexter.’ May our rage with your final hours subside, at least until the spinoff announcement.
What say you? Did you get your fill of darkly dangerous ‘Dexter’ drama? What did you think about the series finale? Stay tuned for the latest from the creators on ‘Dexter’ season 8, and tell us what you thought of the ending in the comments!